Harry’s Bar and England vs. Scotland

A few weeks ago Natalia bumped into Mem, a Thai lady married to Alan, an Englishman (lucky lady), in our favorite grocery store. Alan is a very interesting chap, a fisheries expert working for USAID who is in Malawi to manage a program to preserve the rapidly depleting fish stock in the Lake. He first volunteered in Thailand where he met Mem and they both moved Malawi 23 years ago for Alan to build a fishery. The left after a few years and have since day lived in some of the toughest and roughest places in the world (Cambodia, Bangadesh and Scotland) until returning to Malawi last October.

We had invited them both to our house for dinner 3 weeks ago and I had thought I had done a fair job of making Thai coconut chicken soup. I had selected this as I wanted to cook this time and it’s my go-to recipe but maybe not the best choice when inviting a Thai to the table. Over dinner we learned that Mem had opened a Thai restaurant in Scotland (which deserves a medal).

As their furniture had just arrived they invited us to their house for dinner Friday night. Grounds the size of a football pitch, a small army of staff, a house so big you get lost in it and a fully equipped kitchen (the lack of will be my excuse for my meal). Mem served a fabulous Thai meal (4 dishes), beautifully presented on a proper dinner table with all the accompaniments and then served freshly baked Apple pie and ice cream for dessert which was almost as good the Jenni’s Apple pie, widely considered the best pie in the world. 

Look closely at the pie. Crust shaped into roses. Amazing.

I ate far too much.

Over dinner the plan was hatched to find a bar to watch the England vs. Scotland rugby game on Saturday at 6pm. Strangely, I was given this task and I decided it was time to find Harry’s Bar, an exclusive ex-pats place we had heard a lot about but is very difficult to find and does not publisize itself. Basically, finding it is your membership.

We started at Alan and Mem’s house at 4pm, now with Sally, for a few warm-up beers and an empty margarine tub full of Natalia’s guacamole. Out done again, Mem had made some delicious Thai appetizers presented artistically.

After a brief scare we eventually found Harry’s Bar and were greeted by Harry himself with “yes, we are showing the rugby”. Harry had arranged an outside viewing area, with the game projected onto a screen in front of a bunch of wicker armchairs lined up like a cinema. A small crowd with one Scottish fan (pictured with Harry in the title picture) – not counting Sally who broke ranks and sided with Scotland – who got increasingly quieter (after some entrance bravado) as England demolished the Scottish defenses. Just like the good old days.

Meanwhile, I’ve managed to do my US taxes thanks to my brother-in-law Stewart and his willingness to be our forwarding address and scanning skills. This means we don’t need to return to the US anytime soon although our plan is now set; we leave Malawai early Sept and visit the UK, Florida (Marc and Jenni) and then to California to see everyone and for a trip to Santa Barbara to see Natalia’s cousins, Paul and Alma, when we all go to see Depeche Mode in concert! Just so happens this trip also coincides with someone’s BIG  birthday too…

Then the plan is we leave for Asia to do all this again…


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